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US charges six, including two imams, for backing Pakistani Taliban

Other News Materials 14 May 2011 21:57
Six people in the United States and Pakistan have been charged with providing financing and other material support to the Pakistani Taliban
US charges six, including two imams, for backing Pakistani Taliban

Six people in the United States and Pakistan have been charged with providing financing and other material support to the Pakistani Taliban, the US Justice Department said Saturday, dpa reported.

Three of the accused are US citizens of Pakistani origin, including two Florida imams, while the other three live in Pakistan.

FBI agents arrested Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76, imam of the Miami mosque; and his son Izhar Khan, 24, imam of the Jamaat Al- Mu'mineen mosque in Margate, Florida. They are scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

"Despite being an imam, or spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace," Wifredo Ferrer, from the Florida Attorney General's office, said. "He acted with others to support terrorists to further acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming.

"But for law enforcement intervention, these defendants would have continued to transfer funds to Pakistan to finance the Pakistani Taliban, including its purchase of guns."

Another of Hafiz Khan's sons, Irfan Khan, 37, was arrested in Los Angeles and will appear in court there.

If convicted, each faces a potential prison sentence of 15 years for each of four counts, the Justice Department said. The other three defendants are at large in Pakistan.

All six have been charged in a four-count indictment with providing material support to a conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap people overseas and providing support to the Pakistani Taliban.

The indictment describes how Hafiz Khan transferred money to Pakistan, and where the money was withdrawn there.

According to the allegations, he was recorded calling for an attack on the Pakistani Assembly that would resemble the September 2008 suicide bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

The Pakistani Taliban has close ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. It claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that killed at least 80 people at a military training facility in northwestern Pakistan on Friday.

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